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Palmdale boy's death: Documents detail prior abuse allegations

June 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
New documents from child protective services reveal more details in the case of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy beaten to death, allegedly by his mother's boyfriend while she watched.

Gabriel Fernandez died last month after being allowed to remain in his home by Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services, or DCSF. That happened despite six investigations into abuse allegations involving the boy's mother over the last decade.

DCFS is investigating how the boy's case was handled within the department. Paramedics found the boy unconscious in his Palmdale apartment last month. Detectives say he had been severely beaten. The victim's mother, 29-year-old Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Isauro Aguirre, are charged with capital murder in the beating death of the child.

Eyewitness News obtained a 120-page report from DCSF. It's heavily redacted, which means the names associated with the report have been blacked out, but it outlines reports of abuse the agency received.

In the report, one call in October 2012 said, "Child (redacted) disclosed that his mother hits him with the buckle end of the belt when he can't finish his homework. (redacted) sometimes bleeds from being hit by the belt buckle. (redacted) informed the Caller that he has bruises on his back where his mother hit him...(redacted) was worried that his mother was going to hit him later today because he didn't understand his homework... (redacted) demonstrated how to snort cocaine. Caller is worried that (redacted) is being exposed to illicit drugs in the home."

Lawmakers in Sacramento have called for a statewide audit of child protective service agencies. Gabriel's grandfather, Robert Fernandez, says he wants justice for his grandson.

"Justice for Gabriel, not only for him, but for the other kids all over the place, all over the states. It's not just about him, it's about those little victims that don't have a voice and that's one of the reasons I'm trying to implement or change the laws," he said.

Robert Fernandez said Gabriel lived with him for most of his life. The boy lived with his mother during the last six months of his life.

Family and friends on Wednesday held a memorial service for Gabriel at Church of the Foothills in Sylmar.


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